Veterans are known has heroes that have sacrificed more than imaginable putting the lives of others before their own. These heroes live out Wesleyan’s JOY motto by putting the safety of others before their own. The school held an assembly honoring those in the community who have risked their lives for others on Nov. 9 in Yancy Gymnasium.
Junior Charlie Taylor said, “Veterans sacrifice for their country purely out of love for their fellow Americans. Jesus set the perfect example of sacrifice, and the least we can do is sacrifice for others whether it be through military service or simply within our community through the way we treat people.”
Social Studies Department Chair Ted Russell described this year’s speaker, Ricardo Grave de Peralta, in this way, “He is the kind of hero that you would read about in stories written by authors such as Tom Clancy, David Baldacci and Vince Flynn but if you spend any time with him at all, you quickly realize that he is a humble servant who has a tremendous love and devotion for this country.”
Peralta became a special agent with the FBI in 1998 where he worked counterintelligence investigations and was a member of the divisions SWAT team. Russell shared his accomplishments during his introduction and said, “Mr. Peralta was assigned to the 9/11 Pentagon Bombing investigation team and served at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was promoted in the counterterrorism division; serving as the program manager for Al Qaeda investigations. A few years later, Mr. Peralta was selected for the Atlanta Joint Terrorism Task Force and Counterterrorism program coordinator.”
Junior Hannah Steiner said, “Mr. Peralta put our countries needs in front of his own personal needs. He lives humbly through his success while being a servant for the Lord. It was a blessing to hear him speech during this year’s Veteran’s Day program.” The community was reminded what a gift these heroes are from what Peralta shared during the program.
Russell continued to talk highly of Peralta in a personal interview and said, “Here is a guy that has an incredible resume and all he wanted to talk about was his friends who made a bigger sacrifice.” Through Peralta’s talk he shared stories about his friends that fell about of helicopters and fought through tremendous hardships till the very end.
“It is powerful that the Veteran’s Day program was led by a veteran who has served our country very well,” said Senior Dawson Carr. Peralta’s personal stories shook the lives of many students reminding the magnitude of their many sacrifices.
“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” the Nike slogan used to illustrate what veterans have done to serve for the freedom in America was used in Peralta’s speech. Sophomore Mac Howie said, “Veteran’s live out the Nike slogan in their everyday life by serving this country. What Mr. Peralta said was a great reminder of how God called us to live our lives.” Veterans are brave and humble heroes that serve with humility, which is something that the nation honors everyday and especially on Nov. 11.
Taylor said, “Jesus set the perfect example of sacrifice, and the least we can do is sacrifice for others whether it be through military service or simply within our community through the way we treat people.”
Sixth grader Jenna Lundstedt said, “[about her father, a United States veteran] my dad is the bravest person I know. He loves me and everyone else so much. He is my role model.” Veterans and current service members are an illustration of servant leaders who are willing to risk their lives for the need of the nation.
At the end of program, there was a slide show of Wesleyan alumni that chose the life path to serve the nation, to put the needs of others before their own. They brought the JOY motto past the campus of Wesleyan to risk their lives for others.